Meet Kolbie!

Kolbie and I went to the same high school and the same college. But, we met through Instagram and have never met in real life. Isn’t that crazy? 
We share a love for hand lettering and I have LOVED watching her business grow over the last few years. Her talent and her dedication to her craft inspire me.
Kolbie is a watercolor artist, calligrapher, writer, and teacher. You can find Kolbie on Instagram at @thiswritingdesk and on SkillShare! Her classes are amazing!

Meet Kolbie:

When you are in a creative funk, what do you do to reignite your creativity?

I have a list of several things I’ll try! Go on a walk, listen to moody music, write in my journal, play the piano, paint my nails… actually, pretty much all of those things are self-care items for me! I’m pretty sure the cause of every creative funk I’ve had is burnout, so self-care is the best way for me to reawaken my love for creativity.

Why is creating important to you?

It’s how I express my love for the world, for humanity, for beauty—for basically every happy and joyful thing in my life. I also believe creativity is an innate part of being human. We were born to make beautiful messes.

Would you label yourself as “creative”? Have you always been a creative individual? How have you developed creativity?

I think as a child I lived an unnecessarily split life. Creativity is something I pursued at an early age, but I also valued reason and analysis. Intellect. For some stupid reason, I was taught that people were either smart analytically OR they were smart creatively. Never both. That’s obviously so false, and now I find I’m my most creative when I combine reason with imagination—I think that’s why I love making classes and resources so much. I discovered a passion for watercolor as an adult (I thought I was so terrible at art until I was 23 and tried hand lettering on a whim), and a lot of the analytical processes I learned as a literary analysis major helped me unlock what had always seemed so unattainable: how to be an artist.
Since then, I’ve found that if I give myself room to figure something out, if I remind myself that every technique can be broken down and simplified, then I’m more eager and motivated to create and make messes because even if I don’t achieve exactly what I set out to achieve, I’ve still learned something. I’m not sure if that really makes sense? I guess my point is that for me, creativity isn’t just some state of madness that has no rhyme or reason—it’s using building blocks to unleash potential inside myself I didn’t even know I had. But I need the building blocks first, or else I get too self-conscious to really delve deep and find what it is from inside me that needs to be created.

What is your favorite creative activity that someone might not expect?

Acting and theatre, although I don’t do it so much anymore. I did a lot of acting in high school, and it was one of my very most favorite ways to express my creativity. Stepping inside someone else and living their life for a short time in front of a live audience is such an exhilarating way to connect with humanity. I miss it a lot.

Who do you follow on Instagram for creative inspiration?

Oh, so many people. @ensigninsights @jennarainey @pocketfulofletters are a couple of my favorites in my general niche, but I also love following photographers, florists… basically, anyone who posts beautiful things on their feed.

Do you have any other thoughts on creativity that you’d like to add? Favorite quotes?

“Creativity takes courage” -Henri Matisse. I’ve found that you have to be willing to fail hard at something if you’re going to unlock your creative potential, and that’s why creativity takes courage. It’s pretty brave to put your heart on paper, and that’s basically what I do every time I paint something. I’m proud to say I’ve pursued a lot of things I could (and have) failed at. That makes me brave. I think my goal over the past few years first with my Instagram and then with my full-time business has been to help other people be brave, too.

Lettering Love: Inexpensive Materials for Beginners

When I was about 14, I remember doodling in a notebook during a choir practice. One of the tenors leaned over to me and said “Wow, you should design fonts.” I smiled, thanked him, and kept doodling whatever I was doodling.

Years later, I now know that what I was “doodling” is actually called lettering. Lettering is a form of art that basically means drawing letters instead of writing letters. I spent a lot more time doodling letters and words than I ever spent doodling people, places, or things. My chemistry notebook from my Junior Year of High School has some really pretty lettering of words like “barium” and “molecules”.

It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I started investing in more “advanced” markers, pens, and tools for lettering. One of my favorite things about lettering is the fact that there is SO much you can do with inexpensive tools. Grab a pencil or ballpoint pen and you can start right away. However, if you’re ready to experiment with new lettering tools, I’ve got a list of favorites for you to start with and most of them are under $15.

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  • Tracing Paper – Good paper is always my first recommendation. Using printer paper can shred the tips of your markers, so it’s important to use smooth paper. Tracing paper is an inexpensive way to go!
  • Marker Paper – Marker paper is a step up from tracing paper. When I’m just practicing, I love to use one of these two types of papers.
  • Crayola SuperTips – These are the perfect place to start if you love the look of brush lettering. The tips of these markers offer great angles for downstrokes and upstrokes.
  • Tombow Fudenosukes – These come in both soft and hard tip. They’re a great place to start for brush lettering.
  • Tombow Dual Tips – These are my personal favorites. I love the larger brush tips and the variety of colors. The non-brush end is a nice round marker tip. It’s labeled as “fine” but it’s somewhere between a Sharpie and a fine point Sharpie. I think it’s the perfect size.
  • Micron Pens – I love having a set of these in a variety of sizes. These are fun for a variety of lettering styles and for embellishments and floral frames around your letters.
  • A Round Brush and a basic watercolor set – I learned that it was easier to manipulate the style of my brush lettering with an actual brush. Once I found my groove with a brush and watercolors (you can practice with these on watercolor paper or printer paper), I was better at using the brush tip markers.

One of the best things you can do is to just become familiar with how the markers and pens work and what kind of strokes you like. Seriously – just have fun. Once you’re more familiar with the tools, then it’s time to start with tutorials and finding your style.

I’m working on a whole series of Lettering Love posts. Comment below and let me know what you’d like to learn next!

Choose Happy – Free Printable!

I recently made these cute tags for a Birthday Brunch and I loved them so much, I wanted to turn them into an 8×10 print. So, because everyone needs a little more happy in their lives, here are some free printables! They are available in 4 colors and 2 sizes – 8×10 and 5×7 for you to print and use in your home.

Enjoy!

8×10: Choose Happy_Yellow Choose Happy_Pink Choose Happy_Orange Choose Happy_Green

5×7: Choose Happy_Yellow_sm Choose Happy_Pink_sm Choose Happy_Orange_sm Choose Happy_Green_sm